Spiritual Success or Distress?
Quarter 4, Lesson 4

Lesson Four

An Example Of Christian Stewardship

Texts: from Acts and Paul's epistles

The order of this lesson is deliberately reversed. In most lessons, we first establish a perspective. Then we go to scripture, see that perspective in scripture, and reinforce it. This lesson first allows scripture to establish the perspective. This perspective is so foreign to our thinking and our lives that scripture must reveal it. After we see the perspective in scripture, we will reinforce it.

Paul's life as a devout Jew prior to conversion to Christ:

Paul's credentials as a zealous, devout Jew who was certain that Jesus was an impostor:

  1. State the Jewish credentials that Paul listed in Philippians 3:5,6.

  2. State the Jewish credentials Paul declared in a speech in Acts 22:3.

  3. Use Galatians 1:14 to explain the depth of Paul's commitment to success in Judaism.

Paul's religious zeal and commitment to Judaism when he believed Jesus was not the Christ:

  1. What role did Paul have in Stephen's execution (Acts 7:58)?

  2. To what extent did Paul approve of Stephen' death (Acts 8:1)?

  3. What did Paul do in Jerusalem in his attempt to destroy Christianity (Acts 8:3)?

  4. How did Paul describe his religious behavior before his conversion (Acts 22:4)?

  5. How did Paul describe his hostility toward Jewish Christians before he was converted to Christ (Acts 26:9-11)?

  6. What did Paul confess that he was before conversion to Christ (1 Timothy 1:13)?

Paul's life as a devout Christian:

Jesus Christ's statements to Paul:

  1. Jesus said that he was sending Paul to whom (Acts 22:21)? Who was this?

  2. Where would Paul be a witness for Jesus (Acts 23:11)?

  3. Read Acts 26:11-18 and answer the following questions.

    1. From whom would Jesus Christ deliver Paul?

    2. To whom did Jesus send Paul?

    3. What three things would Jesus accomplish through Paul's mission to the people who were not Jews?

Jesus Christ's statement to Ananias in Acts 9:15,16:

  1. What did Jesus explain to Ananias about Jesus' planned use of Paul?

  2. To whom would Paul take information about Jesus?

  3. What would Jesus show Paul?

The Christian Paul acknowledged his stewardship:

  1. What did Paul write to the Corinthian Christians about his mission teams' stewardship (1 Corinthians 4:1,2)? Explain what he meant.

  2. What did Paul write to the Corinthians about his personal stewardship as a preacher/teacher/evangelist (1 Corinthians 9:17)?

  3. What stewardship acknowledgment did Paul declare to the Galatian Christians (Galatians 2:7)?

  4. What stewardship did Paul tell the Ephesians was given to him (Ephesians 3:1,2)?

  5. How did Paul explain his stewardship responsibility to the Ephesians (Ephesians 3:8,9)?

  6. What did Paul tell the Colossian Christians about his stewardship (Colossians 1:25-29?)

Focus on Paul's situation clearly. Do not "chase" distracting questions and issues. Paul was a committed, aggressive enemy of the resurrected Jesus and all Jews who believed in Jesus. He arrested and voted for the deaths of his own people if they believed in Jesus! His religious behavior was governed by contempt, anger, and hostility. This all happened because he did not understand (1) who Jesus was, (2) God's plans through Abraham, (3) God's desire to save all people (see 1 Timothy 1:15,16). He had a lot of knowledge and no understanding!

Jesus appeared to Paul. Jesus proved his resurrection; his relationship to God; and his position as Christ. That encounter totally redirected Paul's life. Beginning with that encounter, Jesus gave Paul stewardship responsibilities to be honored in his mission to people who were not Jews. From that time forward, Paul's actions were motivated by two things: (1) God's incredible grace in forgiving Paul; and (2) Paul's stewardship. Paul's stewardship resulted in suffering, hardship, and sacrifice. It produced hostile rejections, misrepresentation, and becoming the object of hatred, imprisonment, and execution. As a good steward, regardless of current hardship, Paul consistently presented the God of grace, the Jesus who was the Christ, and the new humanity God created in Christ Jesus. See 2 Corinthians 11:22-33.

In Jesus, God entrusted us with His reputation and image, His greatest accomplishment (salvation in Jesus), Jesus Christ's name, Jesus Christ's gifts (forgiveness, redemption, atonement, justification, sanctification, propitiation, purification, etc.), the spiritual kingdom, spiritual existence, the new humanity, material possessions, and opportunity. The gifts God entrusts to each Christian staggers human comprehension.

What did Peter admonish all Christians to do in 1 Peter 4:10? Read Jesus' statement in Matthew 11:21-24. What will Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom say to us in the judgment?

Link to Teacher's Guide Quarter 4, Lesson 4

Copyright © 2000
David Chadwell & West-Ark Church of Christ

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